Album review: VIOLENT SOHO – Everything is A-OK

Violent Soho - Everything is A-OK

I Oh You Records [Release date: 03.04.20]

Accomplished indie/alt rock from Brisbane. I assume the title is not meant to be ironic. The album surfaced in the Spring and the recording/packaging would have been created long before the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to smile wryly at the ‘Everything is A-OK’ title which offers the same level of comfort and resonance now as it did in April.

It is the 5th offering from the band who flirted with wider recognition with a big record deal back in 2010 and still carry serious influence back home. This album hit top spot in the Australian charts.

There’s plenty to like across a 34-minute collection that sits somewhere between a less-angsty Smashing Pumpkins and a mellower Blink-182. ‘Sleep Year’ is a great way to kick off the album, balancing melody with harder, wiry edges. Blustery, riff-packed tracks like ‘Pick It Up Again‘, ‘Easy’ and ‘Pity Jar’ see the four-piece bouncing off each other with energy to create punchy distractions. ‘Lying On the Floor’ peps up like Nirvana’s ‘…Teen Spirit’ for a brief moment and is shot through with 90’s grunge.

Elsewhere, ‘Slow Down Sonic’ is a calm, chilled offering and tracks like ‘A-OK’  introduce fragility and vulnerability both in musical tone and lyrical subjects. Frontman Luke Boerdam gives the vocals a nasal, sardonic twist throughout. You can almost see his curled lip as he channels Billy Corgan.

‘Vacation Forever’ is possibly the most complete track on view, grandstanding a great vocal with punchy guitar lines interspersed with mellower passages. The band seem pretty sharp and tight to me. Alongside Boerdam on vocals and rhythm guitar, the band comprises James Tidswell’s sharp lead guitar lines, and the thumping rhythm unit of drummer Michael Richards and bassman Luke Henery.

Good stuff, if a little derivative. ***½

Review by Dave Atkinson

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